Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red

Blood Swept Land And Seas Of Red

Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red

This extraordinary installation at The Tower of London was created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper. 888,246 ceramic poppies have progressively filled the Tower’s famous moat over the course of Summer and Autumn. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the First World War. To the crowds who have flocked to the Tower, from all over the world, each poppy represents so much more; the lives lost on all sides of all the wars that have followed, whether combatant or not. Inspired by the installation and with excerpts from The Blood Swept Lands by Unknown Soldier; Beauty, Asleep and Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, I have written this poem of remembrance, accompanied by photos from around the Tower and views of the installation from The Shard.

Through blood swept lands
And seas of red
I saw him stumbling.
Bent double with age,
The old soldier
Treads softly through
This field of mud
To place his marker.
His hanging face, lost
In some smothering dream
Of another field,
Where he once marched
Through sludge and filth,
Deaf to the shouts
Of those he left for dead
In a war that never
Should have been
Had lessons been learned.
His marker for the
Father he never met,
The friends he left behind,
The son who died too
Far from his fathers arms,
The grandsons who now
March through desert sands
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags.
Their mother cries
“Come home boys, come home”.
His tears are lost
In the falling rain.
Crowds watch on as
The lives long lost
Seep from the Tower Walls.
Hands reach in, again and again
To plant another fallen angel.
Here lie the flowers of our people
Filling the ancient moat
Each a boy who fell back
To fill some forgotten trench
With their aborted lives.
Regard this beauty,
So fair and elegant
That pleases and delights.
In these flowers we see hope.
All stand in strength to
Remember the glorious dead.
One hundred years since
That war to end all wars,
Yet thousands more have
Killed and died and bled
For naught but the ancient lie,
The struggle over territory
To seize a scrap of this land
That belongs to no one, and everyone.
In time when these blooms are gone
And verdant grass heals
The tortured,trampled land,
What will remain in the minds of man?
And later on will we hear
Of some canker that worked
Itself into the misted memories
Of those crimson flowers?
And laid vile, incurable sores
On the innocent minds of our children,
Ardent for some desperate glory.
Who knows, who hopes, who troubles?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Merchandise – Fairtrade

Faitrade at 20 in Woking

Woking Fairtrade team members, Becca Rowland, Margot Craig & Billie Anderson

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merchandise – Fairtrade

Last weekend the annual Food Festival was held in Woking Town Centre, providing the perfect backdrop to the local celebrations for Fairtrade at 20! One of my photos of the Fairtrade Big Banana Split taken during Fairtrade Fortnight this year was on display as a part of an exhibition held in WWF’s Living Planet Centre. It was also my pleasure to volunteer a small amount of my time to take some photographs for the Woking Team to use in the local press.

Do you know about the Fairtrade Foundation?

Who we are?

Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Fairtrade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers. The international Fairtrade system represents the world’s largest and most recognised fair trade system.

We are a global organisation working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers.

Becca Rowland, Chair of Woking Fairtrade Action Network writes:

Woking Fairtrade celebrated 20 years of the Fairtrade MARK in the UK last Saturday with a photographic exhibition, food stalls and cake. The celebrations formed part of the Woking Food Festival which, for the first time, included a Fairtrade and Family Quarter centred on The Lightbox and WWF’s Living Planet Centre.

Called “Fairtrade at 20: The Power of You”, the exhibition consisted of images of farmers and producers, campaigners and consumers, and illustrated the history of the Fairtrade movement. The exhibition had been commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation to draw attention to what has been achieved in the UK so that over 20 years Fairtrade has become mainstream. Worldwide Fairtrade is now the world’s leading ethical label and Fairtrade International reported this month that sales of Fairtrade certified products reached US$7.3 billion worldwide in 2013.

People visiting the Food Festival enjoyed the stalls in The Lightbox as well as the photo exhibition at WWF. The support in Woking is an indicator of just how much support there is for Fairtrade nationally. Fairtrade is such an easy way for people to make the world a fairer place and we’ll keep promoting it until all farmers are able to get a fair price for their hard work.

I’m so used to the Fairtrade MARK and purchasing products with this official stamp of approval, that I could hardly believe it had only existed for twenty years! Our local Waitrose Supermarket has many such products that we buy on a regular basis. Have a look for items like these pictured below in your local shops.

Fairtrade Produce

The Food Festival was hugely popular again this year and another local group, The Phoenix Cultural Centre, that I volunteer my photographic skills for, when possible, was on hand to provide music for the masses. It was a great weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of these fantastic community projects!


Travel Theme: Merchandise 1


Travel Theme: Merchandise 1

Every year the Surrey Sculpture Society puts on a fantastic exhibition in the grounds of RHS Wisley Gardens. All the sculptures on display are for sale. I just love seeing these pieces of art set against the garden backdrop! The placement of the sculptures often brings an extra dimension to the artworks, adding a storyline not just to the art but also to the landscaping surrounding them. If I were a sculptor I couldn’t think of a better way to display my work! Here is a gallery of just a few of the pieces that I’ve seen so far in this years exhibition.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art – Julia K

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art - Julia K

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art

Michelle says “When someone says “art,” they often use it as shorthand for “paintings and sculptures.” Art is everywhere, though: in nature, in architecture, in literature, and more. It’s anywhere we see beauty and meaning.”

I couldn’t agree more! I see art and beauty everywhere I look. One of my great joys in life is working alongside other like-minded artists, like Julia K. Julia is a wonderful singer/songwriter who is also my friend, my muse and my collaborator!

My favourite collaboration with Julia, so far, has been the creation of the video for Julia’s song “Strong” which I directed. We also held an exhibition with fellow photographer Tom O’Donoghue, culminating in an intimate concert in the medieval Undercroft in Guildford.

My featured image is the cover artwork for the single which is available on Amazon and iTunes. The photos in the gallery tell the story of the making of a music video. From the tranquil and beautiful setting of Fleet Pond on a very chilly February morning to the fabulous interior of the converted mansion at South Hill Park.

Finally, our work or art is the video itself. We hope you enjoy it! Look out for my dad’s artwork used as props too 🙂


Crazy Chrysanths

Crazy Chrysanths

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

There are several unexpected things about today’s post!

Firstly, it was an unexpected outing to RHS Wisley Gardens today as the Chrysanthemum exhibition will be closing tomorrow, a week earlier than had been expected. This was because the flowers had all bloomed early!

Secondly, I think the beauty and variety of these flowers may be a little unexpected to some of my followers.

Thirdly, I was treated to an unexpected exhibition of artwork by Keika Hasegawa. The images are all from wood-cut prints in the book One Hundred Chrysanthemums published by the artist in 1891.